Earlier this week I began my exploration of and about GreenWare Environmental Systems. I first dug up a few names at EPA. My intial (and so far only) contact in EPA asked me whether I found anyone actually using GreenWare. The idea I got was that while the file management package at GreenWare was very good, the system they had tried a couple of years ago was quite restrictive and not very forgiving as to documents/records developed elsewhere.
Then they told me about another group called EMS Webware (affiliated with Univ. of Massachusetts, Lowell) who had worked up a system that was perchance more flexible and adaptable. So I called them and they reiterated the same story, and suggested that they had only begun to develop EMS Webware when they found off-the-shelf systems too confining.
In their Feb. 2005 commencial software announcement the EMS Webware folks say:
…The program helps organizations build and implement an environmental management system (EMS) to enhance environmental performance.So although we will still work to better understand GreenWare, we are in the process of looking further into EMS Webware too. It may be that GreenWare was never as inflexible as the UMass folks say, or it may be the it was but no longer is. In any case we want to investigate at least these two systems and hope to find more. Clearly we need 'something.'
University developers from the offices of Environment Health and Safety and Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property office worked together to create EMS WebWare.
“It provides the tools required from beginning an EMS, to building teams, tracking documents, creating documents, providing links, to providing the security and IT support,” explained Rich Lemoine, director of the Environment Health and Safety office.
EMS programs were introduced by the EPA to promote environmental policy at universities and other public agencies. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recommends a model for environmental performance called ISO 14001, which is used by large corporations and from which EMS Webware is modeled.
Conservative business projections have the software bringing in some $750,000 to the university over five years, according to Susu Wong, UMass Lowell's licensing associate and chief marketer of software. Customers would likely include other universities, as well as municipalities and EMS training providers.
UMass Lowell says Beta testers included the city of Lowell, the University of Rhode Island and the Toxics Use Reduction Institute.
“It had to be user-friendly. It had to adapt to any organization,” said Lemoine. “Basically what the system does is say, ‘Here are 17 templates and you can bring in any documents.'”
UMass started working on Webware in 2001 after finding difficulties implementing its own EMS on campus.
“The other systems out there, they weren't flexible, and they weren't going to meet the needs of our institution,” Lemoine said.
UMass Lowell provides all technical support for the software package and its server will host and retain all information organizations might need for future audits or agendas, he said.